Bareboat charter companies in the BVI
Interested in hearing recommendations on positive experiences with bareboat charter companies in the BVI.
My wife and I along with her cousin (far more experienced sailor than we are) are planning a trip to the BVI for late March early April.
It seems that there are a lot of choices when it comes to charter companies. We are looking for a boat 36-40 foot. It doesn't need to be a new boat, but would like to know that it has been well taken care of. Her cousin is the "handy man" at his yacht club so I am not concerned with minor unexpected repairs, but don't want to spend the trip fixing a rental.
Looking to save a little money...don't want to blow the all the money that my personal hole in the water needs:D . Thanks
Try footloose... good prices on older boats but good service.
Somebody recommended NorthSouth yacht charters. Anybody else familiar with them?
We have a Jeanneau SO 40 (Better than Popcorn) with VIP Yachts in St. Thomas. I feel that flying into St. Thomas saves you lots of time, provisioning is great and your off the dock faster since they let you spend the first night (if you need it) on the boat. If you fly directly in St. Thomas in the morning your usually off the dock that day. They take very good care of the boats and checking into the BVI's is pretty easy.
The linens and towels smell geat (according to the admirial) and are abundant, They give you snorkeling gear for the week if you don't have any, free. They are great people to deal with. If you would like more informaion let me know our give them a call. As I said I have had a boat with them for 5 years and am partial.
I've done Moorings & Sunsail in Tortola.................both were fine.
I find Moorings more formal, less flexible (ie;more rigid with time schedule) & more expensive than Sunsail.
Both trip were summer trips.
Overall, Sunsail tends to offer more deals but are not as "fancy" as Moorings in Tortola (also different harbors) Sunsail is near the airport but away from Roadtown (main town / activity).
St. Thomas - often easier / cheaper to fly into from many cities in USA.
Tortola usually means changing planes in San Juan................or a ferry from St. Thomas (I've done both)
Sunsail has a website that will give rates & quotes ..............Moorings prefer to talk with You.
Pickup a cruising Guide - local marine book store, on line or directly from
will help plan your trip plus valuable travel info
Have not chartered from USVI but certainly another option to consider & sail to BVI is a good voyage considering many in BVI are so short. Jost Van Dyke is a very laid back immigration/customs stop (if coming in from USVI) vs Tortola:cool:
Bareboat in the BVI
We've chartered Moorings, Barecat and Conch. Big differences in the boats and prices. The Moorings boat was like new and the price was high. Barecats had lower prices but nice boats. Conch is the bottom on price and old boats BUT... I could not complain about the value received, it was a good deal on an old boat but the same BVI's you get with anyone. Check TMM. They have been around a long time.
I'd also suggest checking the USVI as a start. Easy to get to and easier to provision but still only a day away from Jost. Don't count St. john out either. They have installed mooring balls in many of the bays so you might find more more secluded anchorages there than you think on your way to the BVI.
One comment on Sunsail, my pet peeve with them. Your charter begins at 6 pm. It isn't likely you will go any where at that time of day so I've always considered a Sunsail week as 6 days with a sleepaboard, not a full week.
I hear that Voyage is growing and have about 30 cats available and SOPERS is where the ferry comes in. Anyone use them?
Sunsail Start Time + Voyage
Ken is right about Sunsail start time - everywhere I've chartered with them. ....and their plan is for you not to leave the dock that evening but they only charge you a 1/2 day (7 day charter is calculated @ 6.5 x daily rate). To me it replaced a hotel that I would use anyway after blowing the day flying to the location plus doing all the pre-sail stuff which always takes longer than you want it to especially if it's only a couple sailing or inexperienced crew tagging along. You get a chance in the am to get any remaining items taken care of & questions answered of the staff....and off you go. Depending on the season & boat availability, I've found Sunsail local staff (especially is you treat them with respect & a smile) very flexible & willing to provide access to the boat before the "start" time. Very helpful when stowing gear & provisions. Moorings was not willing to do that at all in BVI.
Voyage Chaters = Yup, around the harbor from the ferry dock at West End / Sophers hole ..........in fact their operation has swallowed up the fuel dock/water fill area. Fancy office as they are handling not only charters but yacht /charter ownership plus new cat sales.
As for departing from St. Thomas, I agree that VIP Yachts is the best.Kelly is fantastic and goes out of her way to help. Limited amount of sailboats/cats but they also offer motorboats. Great staff, they couldn't do enough for you! And I don't own a boat with them....
Voyage Yachts in Sopers Hole is a great company as well, but VERY expensive. All the cats are very well kept, staff is nice and some of the Catamarans are equipped with A/C.
I agree with Ken about Sunsail, 6 days with a sleep aboard, but it does take a full day of travel in order to get to the BVI's. You actually pay for 6.5 days not 7. They do have other options too but you do pay for it....boat can be taken at 12N if available.
Recommend Sunsail in BVI
We chartered with Sunsail in the BVI at the end of June this year. They have a nice base and a good food plan where you pay for the food you order instead of a per person per meal plan.
On the 2nd day of our charter, we had a problem with our propeller shaft, nothing serious, but we could not use our engine. Sunsail asked us where we were headed, sent a repair boat out to us. They repaired the problem so that the motor could be used but felt that a better repair was needed. The repairman helped bring our boat back to their base and pulled up a new (larger) boat next to ours. We moved our bags over and were on our way with less than 1/2 of a day lost. Sunsail had no way of knowing if this was a problem I created or a problem that just happened while I was on the boat but that never even came up, they just fixed the problem, with the minimum impact to my vacation.
I consider that outstanding service and will make Sunsail my first charter company choice in the future.
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